Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Doing Book Reviews by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Earlier this week C. Hope Clark (editor of Funds For Writers, and author of several books) posted on Facebook about buying books, not taking freebies. She’s posted stuff like this before, and she has a valid point. Publishers only pay Authors pennies on the dollar, so unless they are a big name like King, Rowling, or Patterson, they’re not getting a huge sum of money.

(And please don’t use this to argue in favor of self-publishing, because without the backing of a publishing company to distribute your books, you have to do that yourself. You won’t be able to get your books into more than a handful of bookstores, just those within a few miles of your or your family and friends, if even that, since some won’t take indie or self-published works.)

What Hope was actually saying is that as authors ourselves we should never deprive our fellow authors of money. We should never accept a free book, unless we give a review of that book. But that isn’t always easy to do.

I once accepted a free book that was so awful I never read past page 18, and I never did a review because I couldn’t get past the fact that I didn’t want to hurt my friend’s feelings. Unfortunately, she stopped talking to me after that. But really, I couldn’t finish it, how was I supposed to review it?
Then there’s the time I learned my niece had published a book. I went immediately to her site where she had a sample chapter available and read it, instantly learning it wasn’t my type of novel. It’s a fantasy. (Look it up. Fatal Heir by L.C. Ireland.) I also realized that it was well written, engaging, and possibly something Konnie would like, so I did two things. I pre-ordered the reader version of it (my niece deserves the money no matter what), and I contacted Konnie drawing her attention to the site. Within the hour, she also pre-ordered the book.

After Fatal Heir actually came out, there was a time when Konnie informed me that her youngest daughter had swiped her reader to read LC’s novel. I posted about this on Facebook because my niece (on my side of the family) swiped her mother’s reader to read a book written by niece (on my husband’s side of the family). It was funny at the time.

And while I do have the novel, I did buy it after all, I have never read more than that sample chapter. I know its excellent writing, and an intriguing story. It did almost draw me in, but I’m not much into fantasy. I keep telling myself I have read some, and I really should read it, it is after all my niece’s novel, maybe one day. Until then, whenever I learn someone likes fantasy, I mention LC’s book. It’s the least I can do, and word of mouth might not be a written review, but it is a review.

I also am poor, so buying a lot of books isn’t in the budget. I do buy, and I sometimes do buy new, I just bought a new Donald Maass book yesterday, but most of the time I go to the library. Some authors I like, I just can’t afford their books, even on a reader.

Maass I can afford, Francis I can’t. I go to the library to read Dick and or Felix Francis novels. And anyone who knows me knows I like their books. I talk about it all the time. Again, not a written review, but it is still word of mouth; I think it should still count. And I think the fact that I have mentioned this on Facebook a time or two should count too. Even if it isn’t an eloquent paragraph or two extolling all the virtues of their writing, it is still a review.

Don’t you agree?


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fur Babies and other such family members by Konnie Enos

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As I’ve mentioned before, we have dogs in this house.
Now being dog owners we tend to have noisy greetings when someone comes to our door. It’s impossible for anyone to ding-dong-ditch and run away before we can open the door and find them running away. (It helps that there is only one way to get off our property and there isn’t any place to hide while you make that rather exposed dash.)
It’s also impossible to get into the house without enthusiastic dogs greeting you and or trying to get out the front door.
For this reason when we return to the house we play what my daughter refers to as “soccer”. An exercise in blocking furry family members from exiting the house. Generally when you open the front door you have to expect to see one or more black noses.
Recently I was returning to the house with one of my daughters and fully expected at least two black noses at the door. Her three-legged dynamo and my energetic little lady. And quite possibly my husband’s big ball of fluff. There was also the possibility of my other daughter’s yellow cannon ball. Though her tiny guy was least likely he still might show up too.
I cautiously opened the door.
No noses.
I opened the door further.
No furry family members.
I finally opened the door all the way and stepped into the house, glancing though the clearly empty front room and kitchen and all the way down the hall to the back door.
Not one person or furry family member.
“Notice the decided lack of greeting.”
Daughter walking in behind and closing the door. “Yeah. But I can hear them. They must be blocked by something.”
Clearly. The only door in the hallway not closed was the hall bathroom and that was no dogs land, strictly for the cat.
So they were either in a bedroom or the backyard.
As we moved down the hallway my other daughter opened her bedroom door spilling out her cannon ball and tiny guy plus her sister’s dynamo. As they came out one of my sons opened my bedroom door and my husband’s fluff ball ran out with my lady.
There was our usual and enthusiastic greeting.
What was I thinking about through that whole experience?
With all the writing I’ve done I’ve never once given any of my fictional families pets.
Why?
I don’t know.
I do know animals add another dynamic to the family experience.
And there are so many ways they could be included.
Are they part of the family or just a pet, or a working animal?
In my household our animals are part of the family.
If the family lived on a farm, their animals could likely be working animals.
If a person is disabled, their animal is more than just a working animal or a pet. Or at least that’s what I’ve heard.
The other thing to consider when writing stories with animals in them is that they all have their own personalities, just like humans do.
With as many pets as I have, I should consider adding pets to my stories.
It is food for thought.
Have you written stories with pets in them?
I’d write more but my little lady needs her walk.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.   

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Twin Stories by Bonnie Le Hamilton


The other day I saw, and shared, a post on Facebook 13 Insane Identical Twin Stories That Are Almost Too Funny To Believe http://www.rugzee.com/13-insane-identical-twin-stories-that-are-almost-too-funny-to-believe/. The only thing is, I didn’t find them funny or unbelievable.

In all but three instances in the whole article, similar things have happened to Konnie and me. The only exceptions were waving hi to our reflection (at least I’ve never done that, and Konnie’s never mentioned doing it either, so I’m assuming she hasn’t either), the intentionally switching to cheat stories (We never did that! Ever, would never have considered it.), and the boyfriend kissing the wrong twin one. (It’s a good thing too, since the first time I ever saw my brother-in-law, due to my husband being stationed clear across the country, they were already parents.)

Thankfully, the only time either Tom, or Jerry, have mixed us up was on the phone, and each time we can forgive them because in both those instances they were expecting the other twin to answer. Yeah, they got it wrong, but it was understandable.

And the closest we’ve come to a teacher mixing us up was that one April Fool’s Day when the teacher kept thinking we’d switched places but what really happened was just days before she’d changed the seating putting me near Konnie’s old seat and Konnie in my old seat. Or that time when I signed up for a class taught by a guy Konnie knew, who had asked her to take the class, but she couldn’t because of her work schedule.

When I walked in the class, he thought Konnie had made it after all and said so, calling me Konnie, and I told him, “Actually, I’m Bonnie.”

At which point he thought he’d been calling Konnie by the wrong name all along and sincerely apologized. Konnie’s roommate, who was with me, stepped in to inform him that he hadn’t until that minute met me and Konnie was indeed at work.

 And as for the intentionally switching to cheat scenario, we never did that, We did get accused of cheating once, but that wasn't a “switching places” tale, that was a “we’re twins, and we communicate with just a glance” tale. I looked at her and got the answer, and everybody who witnessed it knows I got the answer from just glance at Konnie. It happened. But I’d hardly call that cheating, since it was clearly accidental.

And I’m certain I’ve related that story before too. If I haven’t, just let me know.
Anyway, on a whole every story in the article is believable, since for the most part, similar things have happened to Konnie and me.

In fact, I’d say all those stories are common. Frankly, I would think stories of Twin ESP, which is a real thing, since that is how we got accused of cheating, would be more unbelievable than any of the common occurrences in the article, though all of them would make good fodder for any story involving identical twins.


Happy writing everyone. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Research by Carol Baldridge

Thank you, Bonnie Le and Konnie, for inviting me to be your first guest blogger. We three are readers and writers who use libraries, and I was a librarian for over 25 years, so I’d like to share some library lore with your readers.

No matter what kind of writing you do – fiction, non-fiction, essays, or even poetry -- somewhere along the line you will need to do some fact-finding and fact-checking. 

Fact-finding and fact-checking are better known as research. Research, ugh! That’s too often a dirty word that many writers don’t like to think about. But writing what you know goes only so far. Where does a writer begin to do research? Why, at the local public library, of course!

Here are some basic but very important things to know about your public library:

1. Your card -- Get acquainted with your local library and its librarians, Apply for a library card and keep it in good standing. Promptly pay any fines that accrue and pay for any lost library material. Renew your card when the time comes.

2. The reference desk -- Libraries have a reference desk where masters-degreed and specially-trained librarians will research questions for you and help you find what you need for your writing life. They will teach you how to search databases and how to use electronic and paper catalogues. Also, reference librarians all over the world are good sources for the names of and contact information for local experts and historians.

3. Reciprocal borrowing -- This means the patron travels to the book (or library materials). Visit and use the libraries all around you -- area public libraries, college/university libraries, museum libraries, corporate libraries, special libraries. Many will accept your library card as your admission ticket, or you might need a special permission slip from your home library.
Learn how to use WorldCat and other library databases to identify and locate helpful books, journal articles, DVDs, CDs, primary sources (e.g., diaries or letters from the time period you’re researching). Be sure to take note of (photocopy!) the title and verso (backside of the title page) pages plus the primary sources listed in bibliographies, resource lists, and notes in secondary sources.

4. Interlibrary loan (ILL) – This means the book (or other library material) travels to the requesting patron. As mentioned in #3 above, learn how to use WorldCat and other library databases to locate helpful books, journal articles, DVDs, CDs, primary sources (e.g., diaries or letters from the time period you’re researching) at other libraries. A reference librarian will ILL them for you, so you can pick them up at your home library. If the item(s) are out of state, there will be a charge for mailing.

Remember -- DON’T SKIP THE LIBRARY RESEARCH! Many stories have been ruined when the writer didn’t do the needed research.

Happy writing – and researching!


Carol Baldridge

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Descriptions by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Not too long ago I saw a post on Facebook asking how to describe a character without a “standing in the front of the mirror” type scene, which any decent writer knows is a big time no-no. But it isn’t always all that easy, especially if you have only one POV. How would the POV character describe himself to the reader without standing in front of a mirror to do an assessment?

That isn’t easy to even to answer.

I have one story I’ve written were the reader learns the hero has red hair because he complains about how his whole family (whole community actually) has red hair and how boring it is. In the same story, the reader learns about the main character’s size because some other characters point out the size difference between him and another fellow his age, and he reflects on why he is understandably larger. The only other description given of him is the way he dresses, and that was in form of describing the dress code of his people to an outsider. (They’re aliens.)

At no point do I have this character standing in front of a mirror.

In another story of mine (an unfinished one), I show the reader the POV character’s appearance by having other characters react to it. Of course, the whole thing is in his POV, so he does inwardly react to their reaction, thereby the reader learns why people do have such a reaction, but my main character isn’t standing in front of a mirror describing himself either.

Generally, I find it easier to have at least two POV characters, so each of them can “assess” the other in their eyes when they first meet. Simple and easy, but then sometimes you need more, because there are always things a character isn’t going to take note of. Or maybe doesn’t need to.

I have a scene in yet another story of mine where the hero describes what he assesses to be a young boy climbing out of the passenger seat of his tow truck, which his employee had just returned to his garage. In that short paragraph, the reader learns about the description of this new character in the hero’s life, including said characters size, though not her gender.

Which brings me to another post I read this week about pronouns (and frankly I find this incomprehensible) but apparently it is now politically correct to use the plural pronoun “they” to describe an individual who prefers to remain androgynous. I even noticed an author using this incongruous pronoun to keep the sex of a character unknown to the reader.

And it makes me wonder if schools are even teaching grammar anymore at all. He, She, and It are all singular, They is plural. Personally, I would never want to be referred to as in it, but “they”?

And instead of keeping the reader in dark about a character’s gender don’t refer to that person as “they”! Keep the POV character in the dark too, or at least confused as to gender, which I’ve said I’ve done, but frankly, if I ever read something where an individual is referred by the pronoun “they” I’d probably stop reading the book. I might even consider it a wall banger. Such writing would certainly draw me out of the story, which we all know is a bed thing.

Yeah, I know I’m old fashioned, but I can’t be alone in this. Can I?


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Busy is Relative by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Yesterday it took me most of the day to do a load of dishes then sweep and mop my kitchen, hall, and bathroom. Not that either is a big job. Of course, they aren’t. This isn’t a big apartment, and I do live alone. It’s just that I had to keep stopping to catch my breath and rest a minute or two. And even with all that resting, by the time I completed those tasks, I was a bit stressed; I didn’t finish my “to do” list.

Konnie didn’t finish hers either, but well, she rarely does. And she rarely does because none of her immediate family members recognize that she has more to do in her day then run people around to all their various appointments and activities. Let alone that she isn’t goofing off when she’s sitting at her computer. And I’m not even talking writing.

Konnie spends time doing online surveys, which nets her a little extra money every year, and she uses quicken to do the family finances, and all their various bank accounts are online too.

For me, I consider I have a busy day if my “to do” list has more than four items on it; Konnie would consider that a vacation. I seriously doubt her “to do” list ever has less than ten items on it. If mine had ten items on it, I’d included my shopping list. Even when I had a car, and was driving my sister-in-law around to all her appointments, my “to do” never had more than five things on it, and I considered it a hectic day if my sister-in-law had more than one appointment. (She only rarely had two appointments in a single day.)

Konnie would consider that a lazy day.

Busy is relative. What one person considers busy, another would consider lazy. Viewpoint and perspective change by who is seeing, or doing, what is going on. This is especially true in our stories.
Have you ever tried writing a scene from the POV of another character? It becomes a completely different story because that character will “view” the events in a way the original character didn’t. I actually have one scene I’ve written in two different POV’s but that’s because the main character didn’t notice some things his buddy did.

Viewpoint, and frankly attitude, changes the story. Has anyone else tried this? Written one scene from two POV’s? Do you see what I mean?


Happy writing everyone. J  

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Twin Musings by Bonnie Le Hamilton

As the title of this blog states, Konnie and I are mirror twins. And as we’ve already mentioned in our posts, mirror twins are mirror opposites.

The foremost sign of mirror twins is one is a lefty and the other a righty. Well, I’m the righty. And a while back, Konnie and I got on the subject of can openers.

She doesn’t have a ton of counter space, and I thought it weird that she had an electric one (and to be honest, I don’t have an electric one because my husband never liked the possibility of not being able to open a can in a power outage). She insisted that it’s hard to open a can using a can opener designed for the predominately right-handed world.

At the time of the conversation, I had to take her word for it, but well, the last couple of weeks, I’m beginning to see her point. You see my right thumb has developed arthritis and it’s been bugging me, a lot. And she was not kidding when she said its dang near impossible for a lefty to work a can opener build for a righty.

 I’m seriously considering one of those newfangled battery powered can openers, which won’t take up my limited counter space.

I’m also thinking about how I might write a story where a character has to, at least temporarily, use the hand he isn’t used to using, for whatever reason, though I still don’t have a reason, or a character for that matter.

And as I’m writing this, I recall a scene from MASH, which Alan Alda did with his father. They were both playing doctors, and their bickering, a lot, they don’t like each other at all, then both of them are injured (one his left arm and other his right arm), and well they need to operate on an injured soldier to save his life, even though they are hurt. They end up having to do the surgery together because neither of them had the use of both hands.

That was quite a scene for me to remember it decades later.

Have any of you ever written in scene or story plot where a character has to deal with not being able to use a limb or maybe even one of their senses, at least temporarily?

Personally, I can think of a character I have with a broken leg, but that’s about the worst I’ve done. I really should try this idea. Anyone with me?


Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The New Racism by Konnie Enos

I recently came across an article online by Michael Cantrell about liberals and their desire to create a new tax (http://www.allenbwest.com/michaelcantrell/liberals-want-institute-insane-new-tax-white-people).
After reading what he had to say I found myself wondering at the audacity of liberals to think that such an idea could possibly help race relations.
How is signaling one group of people out based on something that is genetic and taxing them for it going to IMPROVE race relations?
Think about that for a moment.
IF your government decided your skin color meant you could afford to pay more in taxes, how are you going to feel about it? What is it going to do to these people who are living on welfare? In section 8 housing? Subsisting on WIC and SNAP benefits and just barely getting by?
Don’t tell me people fair skinned people aren’t poor. I’ve spent most of my life on welfare and living in subsidized housing. The home I live in now I got through Habitat for Humanity and is in a neighborhood that was historically a restricted poor black neighborhood.
Our finances might be better now but we still have months were the month last longer than our money does.
A tax like this is going to hurt my pocketbook.
And it’s not going to help the people with more pigmentation either.
I sincerely doubt the government would actually put this tax money to use in helping underprivileged people (clearly not since so many of them lack pigmentation).  
The goal of the liberals is to erase racism, but you can't do that by being a  racist.
Taxing people based on the amount of pigmentation they have is as bad as selling them as slaves based on the same criteria.
Just STOP judging people based on their genetics at all.
I think Michael Cantrell said it very well. I quote from his previously mentioned article:
“It’s time we acknowledge that yes, racism does exist, and yes, it’s a real problem, for EVERYONE. We should be committed to overcoming this obstacle to our unity. Doing so requires all people to begin focusing on the content of a person’s character rather than their outward appearance.
Punishing someone for their skin color is a step back, not a step forward, something that should be clear to anyone who uses the word “progress” to sum up their political philosophy.”
I’ve already posted a few times about racism and how we need to be a united country, not a divided one (my posts dated 5-20-15, 7-29-15, and 6-29-16). It’s time we as a nation started to work together and stop judging people by the amount of pigmentation they happen to have.
I’m going to end with my normal close because I hope it will help to make a better world.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Decluttering by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Decluttering is something all of us do in our lives at some point or another. Every so often, it’s necessary, not just around our homes, but also in our writing, and I know how hard that is.

The first step of downsizing is decluttering. Clutter is an enormous issue if you ask me because clutter is often the main reason we need to downsize. In my experience, clutter is why we don’t have room for everything in our homes, and clutter is the reason our manuscripts are so long.

For me, I once wrote a manuscript that was over one and thirty thousand words, which, for a romance is way over the top. And trimming the fat wasn’t easy. I had a hard time deciding what wasn’t important, and what was. It took more time to cut that thing down to acceptable size than it did to write it, which should tell you how hard of a job it was.

Though I did learn a lot from that experience and I thought I’d share some of that with you.
The first thing I learned about was not telling my readers things I’ve already shown or are about to show. Seems like a no-brainer since we’re told all the time to show not tell, but well I found that I tended to paraphrase things that I then showed. Most often when I was trying to avoid using a tag, but I now know this isn’t just telling, it’s redundant and condescending, and, when I’m on the receiving end of that kind of writing — extremely irritating.

In other terms, stating the obvious is something we should never do. So we should never say someone interrupted or was the first to mention something when we’ve already shown these things with the dialogue. Yeah, that isn’t easy to remember when we’re writing the piece in the first place since we’re not thinking about style as much was we’re thinking about content. But we have to cut this drivel out of our manuscripts as soon we start editing because it just excess padding.

I can also see, when the piece is long enough, where a writer might think it is necessary to reiterate or paraphrase things that took place earlier in the story, possibly thinking the reader either forgot or didn’t catch the significance of what happened. The problem with this tactic is that it is condescending, as Browne and King say in chapter nine of their book Self-Editing For Fiction Writers titled Once is Usually Enough.

And yeah, they’re right; it’s really off putting when a writer does this to a reader.


Happy writing everyone. J

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Not in the Crowd by Konnie Enos

My daughter came into my room last night and told me she found a study that said 97% of 20 year olds have at least one living grandparent.
We discussed this at length.
The daughter talking to me is my second born and she was 19 when MY last living grandparent died. After some discussion we established that all five of my children were between the ages of 4 and 14. Yes, I said FOUR. When their last grandparent died.
So my children are in the three percent.
Being a curious sort, I did some searching for some statistics on family dynamics.
An article I found (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/12/22/less-than-half-of-u-s-kids-today-live-in-a-traditional-family/) said about 46% of U.S, kids under 18 live with both their parents in a traditional heterosexual marriage and neither one of them remarried.
So my kids are a rarity.
I have five kids, two of those still under 18. My husband and I have been married for 26 years now. I can remember one time going into the food stamps office for an interview and the worker asking me if any of my children had a parent not living in the home with them.
No. My husband and I live with our children.
Then she asked if my husband or I either received or paid any child support.
I told her the only children either my husband or I had were the same five children.
She said that was highly unusual. Generally if a woman had more than two kids, there was more than two dads involved, especially when you were talking about woman receiving Food Stamps and WIC, like I was.
Then I found another article describing the sandwich generation (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/). It said nearly half the people in my age range are raising children or supporting adult children.
Okay, I’m doing both.
It also said, about 15% of these people in this age range are “sandwiched” between their kids and at least one parent that they are caring for.
Okay, not doing that.
In fact, as noted above, can’t be doing that. My parents and in-laws are dead.
So technically I’m in the sandwich generation age range, and have children that fit the age range, but I’m not in a “sandwich” situation.
So again, unusual.
Out of this same curiosity, I looked up statistics on twins as well. (http://www.twin-pregnancy-and-beyond.com/mirror-twins.html) Fraternal twins are the most common.
Among identical twins, mirror twins account one fourth of them.
I guess my kids are in good company. I’m a rarity too.
All this got me thinking about how we try to group people into categories. If this set of circumstances applies to you, you belong in this group. But all too often people don’t fall into a set category.
Recently I saw a video that was supposed to be out of Denmark, which showed a large group of people being grouped into different “boxes”. Then someone asked all of them to form a new group if they fit the description. They’d say a description, people would step forward and they’d take a picture of this new group.
The point it was making was we all have things in common with everyone else
You can do the statistics all you want but not everyone is going to fall within those parameters exactly. In fact, most people are going to fall outside the average simply because it is an average.
Who wants to be average anyway?
 I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, no two people are exactly alike.
Personally, the world would be rather boring if we were.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Downsizing by Bonnie Le Hamilton



Downsizing.

That’s a word a lot of people saying these days, including my sister-in-law and myself. I think a lot of people are talking about downsizing because of the recent increase in health insurance premiums. It’s certainly why I’m saying it. Because of expenses, I can’t afford to stay here alone anymore.

My sister-in-law is saying it because she really needs someone to be with her at all times, problem is, her current apartment is so full you can hardly move in it and mine isn’t much better. I certainly don’t have room for someone else to live here, which is why we’re talking about downsizing, but as you can see from the picture above (which only shows one corner of what is now my spare bedroom) it’s a monumental task on my part.

And I need to get moving on it, because I know it will take a long time to sort through all of that, let alone move my bed and dresser into that room. So anyway, I need to get moving on that today.
But at the same time, I made the goal of making all my Christmas gifts this year, also to save money, and well, here it is February and I’ve only completed two gifts, and I’m telling you, there’s no way I’ll finish on time at that pace. I also still have all those everyday chores we all have, cleaning, cooking, and errands.

Frankly, I’m hoping I can manage to find at least a little time to write in the next couple of months. And I can already hear Konnie telling me that I’m nowhere near as busy as she is. Problem is she has built in helpers in the form of her children.

Then again, she has built in interrupters. Maybe I can manage it.


Happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

To Those in Blue by Konnie Enos

With all the talk about cops in the news of late, I’ve recently been thinking about all the times I’ve been in a car when a cop pulled us over and it clearly wasn’t for speeding.
In the two specific situations I’m thinking of I was the one adult passenger in a clearly full vehicle and there were obviously multiple carseats involved.
The first time my sister was driving her eight passenger station wagon and between our own kids and my nieces, which I was tending, we had every seat full. Yes, you counted that right. That means we had six kids in the car and I think the oldest ones were five or six at the time.
Bonnie could not figure out why she was stopped because she hadn’t been speeding. As I recall the officer just wanted to make sure we had all six of those kids properly strapped in and then commended her for being a safe driver.
Several years later my husband and I were taking our kids to my brother’s house in a state with a primary seat belt law. Our car had exactly six seat belts, which was a good thing because at the time we had four kids. We had our youngest in a large forward facing carseat and the next youngest in a booster seat, while our second born was sandwiched between them. Our oldest was in the front middle seat.
When the officer stopped us my husband wondered if he had light out or something.
I looked at the petite nine year old between us and wondered if that was the problem while I felt for her seatbelt.
The officer came to the window and pretty much the first thing he said was he stopped us because we weren’t all strapped in.
I hooked my thumb on our daughter’s belt, proving to him that we were all strapped in while saying the car was indeed a six passenger.
He profusely apologized for stopping us.
I told him he was doing his job and to keep up the good work.
As we continued on our way I remember commenting on the fact that there we in fact seven people in our car since I was very pregnant with our youngest. I also added we’d were going to have to deal with the car situation soon because we were about to outgrow the one we had.
I can’t remember if the first cop did so, but I do remember the second one apologizing to me for doing his job. As I look at all these news stories about police officers that we see today I have to wonder how many times an officer feels the need to apologize for doing his job.
I have been stopped a few times in my life and a couple of times I was at fault. (One time I was actually speeding, but in my defense I hadn’t realized what the posted speed limit was.) But I’ve never been mad at an officer for doing his job and I don’t see why they should apologize to me for doing so. Even if it means they have to give me a ticket.
I truly love it that one time when a driver not only broke the law by going straight in a turn only lane but then cut in front of me because obviously the lane they were in ended only to be pulled over by the cop who was in the lane on the other side of me.
Police officers everywhere, keep up the good work.

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Downside of being a Twin by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Not too long ago yet another person learned I’m a twin, and, well, when this occurs one of two things happens. Said person either ask me what’s it like to be a twin, or comments something on the line of wishing they were a twin.

Now, I’ve mentioned my comeback for people asking me what’s it like to be a twin, but now I’d like to address why people really don’t want to be a twin.

The number one reason you don’t want to be a twin because people who know one of you, think they know both of you. In other words, people think I’m exactly like Konnie in personality. (Anyone who knows both of us can tell you otherwise.)

 The number two reason is that some people think it’s okay to give twins a gift to share. If you think it’s easier for twins to share than you don’t know any twins. I think it’s harder, probably because we have to share so much, starting with our names, people mixed us up a lot, but some of them resorted to just calling us “Onnie” since that worked for both of us.

And frankly, giving us one gift shows you know as little about us as those who gave us identical gifts. As I recall one birthday we each received a mini china tea set, a set of a jump rope and some jacks, a pair of pants, a dress, and a badminton set.

Konnie kept both tea sets, I kept the jump ropes and jacks and lamented that the pants were a size too small, I also don’t recall ever wearing that dress, except that day. Konnie loved that dress, and didn’t care for the badminton set. We’re not the same people.

Number three is you have to share a birthday with someone else. And yeah I know, everyone can find someone out there with the same birthday, but I’m not talking about finding someone with the same birthday, I’m talking about having that someone in the same house as you. And, in my case, I’m sharing a birthday with someone who likes German Chocolate cake. Now don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, I just for the most part don’t like nuts in my deserts, and I can’t stand coconut or cherries. In other words, I can’t stand German Chocolate cake. You want to give me a cake, don’t make it that. I prefer Apple Spice cake with cream cheese frosting, but I will settle for any cake with buttercream frosting.

The other problem being that Konnie is shy, and while she didn’t mind boys at our birthday parties up until we were eight, after that she lobbied for a slumber party, and, of course, no boys. However, most of my friends (and often my best friend) was of the male variety.

I finally got tired of the ban on boys and insisted we plan separate parties. We turned nineteen that year, and she had her slumber party as always, though I think now she’d change her mind about that, finally.

And, when it comes to writing, I wish authors would show this side of being a twin, because, they don’t. The only book I’ve read that shows the down side of being a twin is “Jacob Have I Loved” by Katherine Patterson.

Does anyone know of any others? And please don’t give me any titles of books about twins taking the place of their twin, or books were one twin is bad and the other good. I hate those.


Happy writing everyone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sleep Deprived Illusions by Konnie Enos

Image result for alarm clock picturesHave you ever been jarred awake by your alarm and were still so tired you couldn’t figure out why it was going off so early in the morning?
I kid you not, that’s what happened to me. I couldn’t figure out why it was going off, but for some reason checked the calendar feature. I peered at it a moment trying to decipher the significance of it. The date meant nothing. I looked at the day of the week. It finally hit me. Weekday. School. I have to wake boys up.
I woke up the youngest one, then crawled back into bed. Even though he sat up, I fully expected to have to repeat the process when my alarm went off again (I had put it on snooze). But a minute or so later I heard a child enter the bathroom.
Oh good, more sleep. It’ll be about half an hour before I have to wake his brother up.
Then about twenty or so minutes later I for some reason woke up enough to look toward the bathroom door, which I can see from my bed, and I thought it looked like it was slightly ajar, like we normally have it when no one is in there. I remembered my youngest daughter had be up when I went to get my son and now it looked, and sounded, like no one was in there. And I couldn’t remember the hearing the water run.
I checked the time and panicked as I ran back to their room thinking they’ll probably be late. Then I stop short when I see my youngest son’s bed empty.
I hurry back to the bathroom. Which is locked. I holler at him to hurry. He responds with splashing water and saying he is getting out.
I shake my still befuddled head and crawl back in bed until it’s time to wake the older boy. The younger boy exists the bathroom shortly before my alarm went off again. Time to wake the older boy. By the time I get into their room he’s back in bed. We’ve told him repeatedly not to do this, but there he is.
I tell both boys the time and to get up, again telling the younger one that he isn’t supposed to be back in bed. I go back to bed myself, cause I don’t have to be up yet but I happen to see a boy child, probably the older one, go into the bathroom a moment or two later so I assume they’re up and don’t worry about any ten minute wake up reminders.
Then my daughter tells me it’s nearly twenty after and both boys are still asleep. I tell her not to worry, I’d get them up. Then a moment or two later my alarm goes off again. This time telling me I do have to get up.
I go tell both boys the time and that they’d better be up dressed and ready to go when I come back out or I’d dump water on them then I go to my room. The older one said something and the younger one looked at me, so I know they heard me.  
After that we just basically loaded up and got out the door. Even made it to their class early, which was a bit of a miracle.
Actually, the only things unusual about this morning were my two befuddled moments and the fact I never once had to fight my boys (specifically the younger one) or get a pitcher of cold water.
Oh the joys of motherhood (especially when you have teenage boy who have to get up before the crack of dawn).

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Writer's Block Part 2 by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Don’t you hate it when you look at a blank page, and draw a blank? I particularly hate it when I have lots of ideas, right up until I open Word. For the last week or so, since I’ve recovered from my concussion, I’ve  been trying to get back into writing, but all I’ve done is open up one file after and reread it, then when I get to the end of what I have, I draw a complete blank.

Blank pages are never fun to stare at, and I honestly don’t do it very long. Generally, if something doesn’t come to me in a couple of minutes, I switch to doing something else. And I’m beginning to wonder if I really should set a timer and write whatever comes to my mind. I used to do that in high school. Of course, that was in my creative writing class. While I’ve sort of tried that exercise outside of class, I’ve never set a timer to do it.

At any rate, I’m now thinking I should start doing that again, or maybe forget writing for a little longer and go read a book. Sometimes that will stimulate ideas too, except I do have ideas, I just freeze looking at a blank page, so maybe that won’t help.

Other things I know will work is taking a long walk, but I’m not about to do that for several reasons, not the least of which is that it’s sixteen degrees out.

Does anyone have any other suggestions to help relieve writer’s block? Clearly, both Konnie and I need it.


Happy writing everyone! J

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Writer’s Block by Konnie Enos

For the last week I’ve known I had to do the post today so I’ve been attempting to come up with a topic while running people hither and thither and otherwise trying to keep my household running.
Yeah, even staring at a blank page didn’t germinate any ideas.
Then this morning, when I was already out of time, driving home from dropping my boys off at school, knowing full well that both my husband and youngest daughter had things to do within the hour so I would not have time to write anything, and idea came to me.
Writer’s block.
That’s what I’m dealing with.
How do you come up with ideas to write when your life is so hectic you don’t have time to think? How do you have time to write when you spend all your daytime hours running people hither and thither or balancing checkbooks or running errands or doling out meds to family members?
And maybe that’s why I can’t come up with a germ of an idea.
I’m so busy I have no time to think.
Right now I have maybe ten more minutes to write before I have to start running people places and I still need to get breakfast. (I’ve been up for hours already.)
Anyway, I racked my brain for days and still came up with a blank page until I decided to write about writer’s block.
And now I’m out of time.
Doctor’s appointments need to be gotten too. Family members have important things to get done that require my assistance, like driving them somewhere. A few bills need dealt with. Finances need done, as always. And sleep might be nice, but I doubt I’ll get any. Too much needs done.
Anybody else have days like this?

Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Hoping For a Happy New Year Part 2 by Bonnie Le Hamilton

As Konnie stated last week, 2016 was not a good year for me. And about the only good thing, which has happened so far this year is my concussion healed, and I’m finally able to do things like read and write, but nothing else seems to be going right.

I’m still having trouble walking, and my sister-in-law is in the hospital, plus, I now have LESS to live off of thanks to the increase in insurance premiums. Some pay raise, thanks a lot Obama.

Anyway, as much as I’ve been hoping for a happy new year, it’s not starting out that way. Of course, last year started out pretty good and didn’t take a turn for the worse until June when my father-in-law died. And a lot can happen in twelve months.

Actually, once upon a time, in a mere ten months, I went from not dating at all to engaged, which is probably why I’m not laughing a certain nephew of mine, who, despite the fact he doesn’t have a girlfriend at the moment, announced he planned to get engaged this year. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.

In fact, if I recall correctly, his mother wasn’t even looking for romance when she met his father! We really don’t know when luck or love will come our way all we can do is keep our heads up and keep on living.

Though it’s that unpredictability of life that makes things really interesting.


Happy writing everyone. J